The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for individuals who lead social service programs and community organizations will grow by 18% between 2016 and 2026 -- nearly three times the rate of growth for all occupations in the U.S. Similarly, the BLS projects that employment for healthcare executives and administrators will grow by a staggering 20% over that same time period.

In addition to strong employment prospects, jobs in these fields can provide lucrative salaries. For example, the BLS found that the median salary for social service and community managers rested at $64,100 in 2017; this represents a value more than $25,000 above the median wage for all other jobs in the U.S. Healthcare administrators can earn even more, with an estimated median salary of $98,350 in 2017.

To access the highest-paying jobs in these fields, however, you typically need to hold an advanced degree. Review this page to learn more about what you can do with an MBA in nonprofit management.

Should I Get an MBA in Nonprofit Management?

An MBA in nonprofit management can prepare you for a variety of leadership roles in the public service sector. Generally speaking, you should gain at least two years of experience at a nonprofit -- through a combination of internships and full- or part-time employment -- before pursuing an MBA in this area.

Once you earn this level of professional experience, you should decide whether to earn your MBA in nonprofit management degree online or in person. Online learning can benefit working professionals; this format often allows you to watch lectures and complete assignments on your own schedule and from the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, an on-campus education typically provides more structured learning opportunities. For example, students in a traditional classroom setting may find it easier to collaborate with their classmates and interact with their professors.

You should also consider the types of skills you need to pursue your chosen career path. MBA in nonprofit management programs help students develop a broad foundation of knowledge in organizational theory, financial administration, board governance, and strategic planning, giving graduates the flexibility to work in many different positions and fields. If you hope to take on a more specialized leadership role, such as becoming the director of a disease research organization, you may want to consider a degree in a more closely related field.

Pursuing an MBA in nonprofit management also confers many non-academic benefits. For example, these programs can help you build your professional network, making it easier to find work and collaborate with former classmates and professors in the future. Job candidates with an MBA may also command higher salaries than those with just a bachelor's degree.

What Can I Do With an MBA in Nonprofit Management?

With an MBA in nonprofit management you can work in areas such as healthcare, education, and philanthropy. You could choose to work at a small nonprofit organization, helping a particular community, or at an international relief organization working in several different countries. Some graduates pursue careers in consulting, while others seek out employment at a corporation to help coordinate charitable activities.

Regardless of your chosen path, a career in nonprofit management requires strong organizational, analytical, and interpersonal skills. Nonprofit professionals should also possess a great deal of empathy and a strong commitment to helping others.

Social and Community Service Managers

These managers coordinate and lead social service programs and community organizations. They often assess community issues, such as the need to provide housing for homeless veterans, and design programs to meet these challenges. Individuals who oversee large organizations should also possess strong managerial skills.

Median Annual Salary: $64,100*

Medical and Health Services Managers

Often referred to as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, these professionals plan and direct medical and health services. They may lead an entire facility (e.g., a hospital) or a smaller part of a larger organization (e.g., a burn treatment ward). Many employers prefer to hire candidates with a master's degree in a field like health administration or nonprofit management.

Median Annual Salary: $98,350*

Administrative Services Managers

Like the roles discussed above, these managers coordinate and direct the operations of an organization or a department within an organization. An MBA in nonprofit management can help prepare you to lead corporate and social responsibility programs at for-profit companies.

Median Annual Salary: $94,020*

Top Executives

Top executives devise strategies and bear responsibility for the work of large organizations. By earning a nonprofit management MBA, you can develop skills applicable to positions such as the director of a charter school network, the CEO of a nonprofit insurance company, or the head of a local or state government body.

Median Annual Salary: $104,700*

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students at colleges, universities, and trade schools. They may also conduct research and use their findings to write scholarly articles and books. While an MBA in nonprofit management may qualify you to teach at some community colleges, you may need a doctorate to teach at a four-year institution.

Median Annual Salary: $76,000*

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best States for Nonprofit Managers

Nonprofits are organizations such as environmental groups, animal shelters, religious institutions, and local theater troupes. Since they provide "public benefits" to their communities, nonprofits are also usually tax-exempt under the IRS. Most nonprofit managers work in individual and family service facilities; however, many professionals work for religious institutions, local government, and residential care facilities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that social and community service management positions will increase by 18% through 2026, much faster than the national average. Therefore, graduates with an affinity for helping others may want to consider a career in nonprofit management.

As a nonprofit manager, you collaborate with stakeholders from multiple social and human service organizations, analyze data, develop efficient strategies, orchestrate outreach activities, draft proposals to acquire funding, and perform administrative duties. Currently, nonprofit managers earn an annual mean salary of $64,100; advanced degrees provide additional opportunities.

Rank School Location Description Toggle

New York

Aspiring nonprofit managers may want to consider launching a career in New York. According to the BLS, New York retains the highest levels of employment for social and community service managers. Furthermore, New York ranks in the top five states for the highest average salaries in this field.

Nearly 92,000 nonprofit organizations exist in New York, and the nonprofit industry continues to expand. The majority of nonprofit organizations in the state identify as public charities, including religious organizations. However, New York also houses over 11,500 private and public foundations. The remaining 18,000 organizations include civic leagues, smaller chambers of commerce, and veterans organizations.

New York residents also provide around $16.4 billion in charity yearly, while the nonprofit sector as a whole generates over $260 billion in revenue each year.



Thousands of nonprofit professionals in Pennsylvania deliver vital community services and develop innovative solutions for its citizens. For instance, Pennsylvania food banks annually serve two million people in need. Furthermore, with generous endowments, the state continues to develop strategic plans to better itself and its residents in terms of racial equality, technology, and leadership.

According to BLS data, Pennsylvania offers the second-highest number of employment opportunities for social and community service managers in the country. With 727,200 professionals committed to their work, Pennsylvania generates nearly $132 billion in revenue each year. Over half the nonprofit organizations in Pennsylvania identify as 501(c)(3) public charities. The state also contains over 6,000 private and public foundations and a significant amount of civic leagues, veterans organizations, and chambers of commerce.

Aspiring professionals may access multiple programs throughout the state that encourage experiential learning, allowing students to develop professional networks prior to graduation.



Professionals considering a career in nonprofit management in Massachusetts gain access to a robust industry. In fact, the state employs over half a million people for nonprofit roles. More specifically, Massachusetts boasts over 33,722 nonprofit organizations, nearly 23,000 of which identify as public charities. Collectively, these organizations generate nearly $118.8 billion in revenue each year, and Massachusetts residents contribute almost $4.9 billion in charity yearly.

Social and community service managers in Massachusetts earn an annual mean salary of nearly $70,000. Boston, Cambridge, and Newtown represent the top metropolitan areas with the highest levels of employment.

Nonprofit professionals in Massachusetts also join an engaging community. For instance, YouthBuild USA produced over 30,000 housing units, and donors for The Boston Foundation supported victims of the Boston Marathon bombings with almost one million dollars in contributions. Nonprofit managers in Massachusetts can work in multiple industries, including technical service, professionals service, management, finance, and information industries.



According to the Michigan Nonprofit Association, Michigan's nonprofit industry retains steady employment, and wages continue to increase. In 2013, Michigan nonprofits employed over 438,000 people, or 11% of the state's non-farm workforce. The majority of professionals work for public charities, with the highest levels of employment in health, human services, and education.

While applicants can find employment throughout Michigan, BLS data indicates that Detroit, Troy, Lansing, Portage, Battle Creek, Jackson, and the northeastern area of the state contain the highest concentration of jobs. Collectively, nonprofit organizations in Michigan have $232 billion in assets, and residents give almost $5 billion to charity each year.

Aspiring nonprofit managers in Michigan may join organizations seeking skilled professionals. Places of employment include social welfare organizations, business leagues, employee associations, and organizations representing acts of Congress. Many public charities also strive to address specific causes.



Service areas in Ohio for professionals considering a career in nonprofit management include human services, housing, youth support, education, and culture. For instance, since its inception, the Cleveland Foundation has awarded over $47 million in educational scholarships. Similarly, a $140 million investment from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture allowed nearly 1.5 million children to gain cultural exposure through trips and other programming.

While Ohio offers great opportunities throughout the state, BLS data indicates that Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Cincinnati, and southern metropolitan areas offer the highest levels of employment for social and community service managers. Totalling nearly 4,500 employees, not including self-employed individuals, social and community service managers in Ohio earn an annual mean salary of $72,660.

Ohioans contribute $5.2 billion in charity yearly, while foundations give more than $1.3 billion annually.



Nonprofit managers seeking employment in Illinois enter an active community that offers many professional opportunities. While Illinois prioritizes health, education, and human services, the state also strives to improve the relationship between the government and social impact organizations.

Illinois contains over 60,000 nonprofit organizations -- including public charities, foundations, and chambers of commerce -- that generate over $109.8 billion each year. Furthermore, Illinois' 5,300 foundations provide nearly $3.1 billion in donations yearly, while residents give almost $8.1 billion per year. Illinois also retains recognition as one of 39 states that require charitable organizations to register with the state to support the integrity of funds.

According to the BLS, social and community service managers in Illinois earn an annual mean salary of $63,870. Carbondale and Marion have the highest levels of employment in Illinois; in these areas, managers earn $71,300 annually on average.



In Texas, the nonprofit sector thrives, offering professionals multiple opportunities with competitive salaries. According to BLS data, social and community service managers in Texas earn an annual mean salary of $76,860. While organizations seek highly qualified professionals throughout the state, over 90% of jobs remain around urbanized, metropolitan areas including San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, and Dallas.

The Texas nonprofit sector includes nearly 93,000 organizations. Primary services areas include hospitals, educational services, and social assistance. For instance, the American Heart Association, located in Dallas, employs nearly 3,000 professionals and receives over 22 million volunteers that fight for the organization's cause. Likewise, the YMCA of Greater Houston offers over 300 programs at nearly 40 centers and has provided scholarships to nearly 95,000 students.

Texan residents actively volunteer and contribute nearly $15.9 billion each year, while foundations contribute $3.04 billion.



The nonprofit industry remains one of the top five employers in Florida. Currently, the state employs 429,800 professionals. The Florida Nonprofit Alliance indicates that shrinking revenues and shortfalls in recent years have caused residents to turn to health-, education-, and human service-related nonprofits. To this end, the Alliance claims that nonprofits "are more important than ever."

Nonprofit organizations provide a significant contribution to Florida's economy. In fact, Florida contains over 69,000 organizations that generate over $86 billion in annual sales. Foundations donate $1.4 billion each year, while residents give $11.1 billion in charity each year.

Social and community service members in Florida earn an annual mean wage of $74,480, over $10,000 above the national average. In areas including Fort Lauderdale, Naples, West Palm Beach, and Sarasota, managers earn nearly $80,000 on average.



Since 2005, Wisconsin's nonprofit sector has expanded by 13%. With nearly 31,000 organizations, Wisconsin's nonprofit sector generates over $49 billion annually. For instance, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin battles hunger across 36 counties by providing meals to over 377,000 residents; in the Milwaukee and Fox Valley areas, that translates to about 67,000 meals per day.

Wisconsin also boasts an engaged community. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Wisconsin ranks among the top five states for the amount of resident volunteer hours. Religiously affiliated nonprofits offer the most volunteer work, while 27.4% of residents contribute to educational efforts, and 19.6% of residents volunteer with social service organizations.

Aspiring nonprofit managers in Wisconsin earn an annual mean salary of $64,910. Metropolitan areas including Milwaukee and Madison offer higher salaries and the most employment. Finally, the most active nonprofit sectors in Wisconsin include human services, eduction, public and social benefit, and health.



Like other states on this list, Oregon fully recognizes how the nonprofit sector benefits its local communities. With over 31,000 organizations, Oregon employs over 183,000 people, which represents 12% of the total workforce. Furthermore, the state's residents contribute $2 billion in charity and thousands of volunteer hours each year. With over 787 foundations, yearly contributions exceed $371 million.

Nonprofit managers in Oregon should anticipate earning an annual mean salary of $63,000. Metropolitan areas, including Portland, Salem and Eugene, offer higher salaries and more job opportunities. Still, professionals who prefer less urbanized locations can secure opportunities in Oregon's rural counties, which account for 9% of jobs in the sector.

Primary nonprofit target areas in Oregon include education, arts, culture, humanities, human services, religion, and recreational sports. The majority of Oregon nonprofits remain small, operating on fewer than $100,000 a year.



Georgia employs over 216,000 professionals in nonprofit organizations. Georgians also actively contribute to the nonprofit sector through volunteer work and donate $7.2 billion in charity each year.

Primary interests include community improvement, healthcare, education, and human services. For instance, the Georgia Council on Economic Education provides workshops for thousands of educators to learn how to teach students economic concepts and financial literacy. The American Cancer Society in Atlanta also provides outreach, care, and programming that helps millions of people each year.

The largest nonprofits in Georgia include public charities and private foundations, the latter of which provides over $1 billion in charity each year. Georgia's nonprofits also include multiple social welfare organizations, business leagues, agricultural and labor organizations, chambers of commerce, and veterans organizations.


New Jersey

Over 71% of organizations in New Jersey say that demand for their services has increased, and 77% believe demand will continue to rise.

The nearly 39,000 nonprofit organizations in New Jersey primarily operate as public charities. The remaining organizations include foundations, leagues, and veteran organizations. Human services, health, education, public and societal benefit represent the top service areas for the state. New Jersey foundations provide over $3.4 billion yearly in charity, while local residents give $5.6 billion.

With an employment of 3,180 individuals, nonprofit managers in New Jersey earn an annual mean salary of $85,830. Students can contribute to the state's current interests in school-to-work programs, financial planning programs, and healthy food initiatives.



Professionals seeking employment as nonprofit managers can access gainful employment in Maryland's active sector. Nationwide, the nonprofit sector employs 8.4% of the total workforce, but in Maryland, that number falls around 11%, which makes Maryland's nonprofit sector the second-largest employer among state industries.

With over 29,000 nonprofit organizations, Maryland's nonprofit sector generates over $54.6 billion each year. Foundations donate over $736 million annually, and Maryland residents contribute $5.3 billion in charity each year. Furthermore, Maryland holds recognition as one of the top-ranking states for resident volunteer support.

Key service areas for Maryland nonprofits include religion, education, nursing homes, and human services. At $75,700, social and community service managers in Maryland earn higher mean annual salaries than the national average.



As the nonprofit sector in Connecticut continues to develop its infrastructure, more professional opportunities emerge. Currently, Connecticut's nonprofit sector employs nearly 14% of the workforce. With over 18,600 organizations, Connecticut nonprofits generate nearly $37 billion in revenue each year.

The nonprofit sector in Connecticut offers diverse opportunities to professionals who wish to create meaningful impact. For instance, the eastern region currently focuses on how education, wellness, economic security, workforce development, and leadership disparities affect women. In New Haven, a decrease in the middle-income population has caused a lack of access to quality education for low-income families with small children; but the nonprofit organization DataHaven, and its partners, have sought to improve this population's quality of life.

At $75,250, nonprofit managers in the state hold annual mean salaries above the national average. Job seekers might consider metropolitan areas with the highest levels of employment: Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, and Norfolk.



For the past 25 years, Minnesota's nonprofit infrastructure has continued to expand, while organizations provide steady economic growth across the state. Since 2017, nonprofits have made up 12% of the state's workforce, and they continue to experience positive trends in wages. Notably, including hospitals and higher education, Minnesota's nonprofit wages surpassed those offered by for-profit organizations.

Nonprofit managers in Minnesota earn an annual mean salary of $77,700. The Twin Cities metro area contains over half the state's nonprofit organizations.

Minnesota features over 31,000 nonprofit organizations. The vast majority identify public charities and religious organizations, while the remainder include foundations, civic leagues, and veteran organizations. Foundations donate over $955 million to Minnesota nonprofits each year, and state residents support their communities with donations of nearly $3.4 billion annually.



Aspiring nonprofit managers may want to consider launching their career in Tennessee. The state offers access to over 27,000 nonprofit organizations including religious organizations, foundations, public charities, civic leagues, and chambers of commerce. Notable charities include Tennessee's Catholic organizations, which provide food to 600,000 people throughout the state, and Tennessee's Second Harvest Food Bank, one of the largest food banks in the U.S.

Tennessee foundations provide over $508 million annually in charity, and residents give nearly $3.8 billion each year.

Social and community service managers in Tennessee earn an annual mean salary of $69,320, with those living in Nashville, Davidson, and Murfreesboro, earning $8,000 more on average. Furthermore, these areas, with the addition of Knoxville, offer the highest levels of employment in the state.



Generating over $39.2 billion in revenue, the nonprofit sector ranks as Virginia's third-largest employer. Primary areas of investment include social services, education, healthcare, and the arts. For instance, Communities in Schools, which strives to help students achieve academic success, has reached over 1.5 million students in 25 states and boasts a 93% graduation rate. While the majority of Virginia's nearly 38,000 organizations identify as religious and public charities, the state has many foundations and 501(c) organizations.

Virginia offers various nonprofit job opportunities throughout the state; however, the central, northern, and Hampton Roads region contain nearly 75% of the state's nonprofit organizations. Likewise, many employment opportunities come from these areas.

Nonprofit managers in Virginia earn an annual mean salary of $88,200. Arlington and Alexandria offer the highest wages, reaching over $101,000 on average.


North Carolina

Professionals considering a career in nonprofit management may want to consider North Carolina. Despite experiencing a decline in employment between 2007 and 2013, the state's nonprofit employment expanded by 18%.

Currently, the state has 39,587 nonprofit organizations that contribute $52.5 billion annually to North Carolina's economy. Furthermore, the state employs over 400,000 people, or more than 10% of the overall workforce. Nonprofit workers in North Carolina earn an average mean salary of $69,080; those living in metropolitan areas like Charlotte and Raleigh offer salaries up to $78,000.

The majority of North Carolina nonprofits remain small, which allows them to work intimately with target populations; in fact, in 2012, 43% of organizations possessed budgets under $100,000. Professionals who prefer large-scale organizations may consider North Carolina's hospitals or nonprofit higher education institutions, each of which manages an annual budget of $10 million.



Arizona professionals with an affinity for helping others may want to consider a career in nonprofit management. Arizona has 21,137 registered nonprofit organizations that generate nearly $28 billion annually. Further, the state's nonprofit sector has created more than 325,000 jobs.

The nonprofit sector in Arizona continues to grow. In fact, between 2009 and 2014, employment grew by 12%, as did wages. Arizona professionals benefit from diverse service area options, such as human services, education, societal benefit, and religion. For instance, the Arizona Community Action Association provided housing programs that impacted over 2,200 families across the state.

While organizations exist throughout the state, professionals may find more opportunities in Maricopa, which holds 57.4% of registered nonprofits in the state, followed by Pima at 17.8%. Santa Cruz, Navajo, Apache, and Gila counties offer the highest salaries in the state, resting well above the national average.



Nonprofit professionals in Kentucky join a vibrant network of caring individuals who work relentlessly to improve the quality of life for those in need. In fact, 9.1% of Kentucky's workforce works for nonprofits, while over 19.2% of graduates have secured employment with nonprofit organizations.

Kentucky features 19,000 nonprofit companies that generate $27.3 billion in revenue. Kentucky foundations provide notable support in giving and grants. Collectively, foundations donate $185 million annually. Local residents also invest in their communities, providing an average of 8.43 million hours of service and $1.9 billion in charity donations each year.

Notable service areas for nonprofits in Kentucky include human services, education, and healthcare. While employment opportunities exist throughout the state, Kentuckiana, Bluegrass, and Eastern Kentucky offer the most jobs. However, BLS data indicates that Louisville and Elizabethtown offer the highest salaries.



Healthy nonprofit sectors significantly impact economic progression. In Louisiana, the nonprofit sector provides employment to over 104,800 people, or over 7% of the state's workforce. As of 2016, Louisiana features 17,001 nonprofit organizations.

Hospitals account for 40% of nonprofit employment in the state. Other primary service areas include social services, educational services, and nursing or residential care. For instance, over the past 30 years, the Food Bank of Central Louisiana has provided over 115 million pounds of food to residents in need. Additionally, the United Way of Northwest Louisiana created an initiative to improve educational outcomes and dispersed school supplies to thousands of students.

Nonprofit managers in Louisiana earn an annual mean salary of $67,190. Professionals in Baton Rouge and Metairie earn higher average wages and gain access to the most employment opportunities.



In Colorado, nonprofit professionals join a sector with over 25,000 organizations that exist to elevate local communities in need. The state employs over 142,000 employees, which represents nearly 8% of Colorado's workforce. Nonprofit managers in the state earn well above the national average, with an annual mean salary of $81,940.

Collectively, nonprofit organizations in Colorado accrue $32.1 billion in revenue. While public charities account for the majority of Colorado nonprofits, foundations donate over $705 million annually. Colorado residents also strongly support the initiatives of their organizations, with residents giving $3.4 billion each year.

Primary Colorado service areas include religious, civic, and grantmaking associations. Other notable service areas include the arts, social assistance, and education. For instance, the National Endowment for Financial Educations helps residents control and plan for their financial futures. Additionally, the American Indian College Fund sends Native American students to school for free.



Nonprofit managers striving to make a difference in the lives of others should consider a career in Alabama. Alabama ranks as one of the poorest states in the nation with over 800,000 adults and 250,000 children living below the poverty line. Perhaps because of these statistics, Alabama features over 18,370 nonprofit organizations, which generate $13.5 billion in annual revenue and employ 74,000 people.

Most nonprofits in Alabama identify as public charities or religious organizations. However, Alabama's foundations donate $190.3 million each year. Alabama also gives over $3 billion dollars to charity each year, a total that represents 4.8% of residents' household income.

With an annual mean salary of $67,830, nonprofit managers in Alabama earn above the national average. The southeast metropolitan area of Alabama offers the highest pay with average mean salaries reaching over $80,000 annually.



The nonprofit sector in Utah offers a strong community of like-minded professionals who strive to improve the lives of others. Utah employs over 63,000 professionals across 7,800 nonprofit organizations. Collectively, Utah's nonprofits generate over $12.4 billion in revenue. Utah also boasts its active resident contributions, Utah residents contribute over $3.3 billion yearly, accounting for an average 6.6% of household income.

Utah offers salaries that exceed the national average in areas including Salt Lake City and Logan. Furthermore, Salt Lake City offers the highest concentration of employment as nearly half Utah's nonprofit organizations reside in that area.

Notable service areas for Utah nonprofits include human services, education, and the arts. For example, the Utah Symphony provides cultural exposure to more than 150,000 students annually, while the Girl Scouts of Utah serves 8,000 girls statewide each year.



Oklahoma offers a bustling nonprofit sector to individuals pursuing careers as nonprofit managers. Oklahoma's 19,565 nonprofits provide nearly $15.3 billion in revenue annually, and they employ 76,000 professionals. Most nonprofits in Oklahoma register as 501(c)(3) nonprofit charities or religious organizations, while private and public foundations represent the minority.

Nonprofit employment opportunities exist throughout the state; however, BLS data indicates that Oklahoma City offers the highest levels of employment, while the metropolitan areas of northeast Oklahoma typically offers the highest wages. Among Oklahoma's 77 counties, Oklahoma County remains the most centralized area for nonprofit organizations, followed by Tulsa County.

Oklahoma's nonprofit sector receives ample support from residents, who contributed more than $2.5 billion in 2017, which equates to nearly 4.5% of their household income. Oklahoma foundations give $437 million annually in charity.

How to Choose an MBA in Nonprofit Management Program

Choosing where to earn your MBA in nonprofit management may feel daunting, but answering the questions below can help you think more carefully about what you want and need from a prospective program.

How much money you can afford to spend? While an MBA from a prestigious university might lead to more job opportunities, it may take you significantly longer to recoup your initial investment compared to if you had attend a state college.

How long do you want to study? Most full-time students can earn their MBA in about two years. However, if you hold other personal or professional obligations, you should consider programs that allow for part-time enrollment.

Does the convenience of an online mba program appeal to you? Distance education offers many benefits, but pursuing an online degree requires a great deal of self-discipline and time management -- make sure this kind of learning suits you before enrolling.

Do you want to pursue a particular specialization? For example, you may want to embark on a career with an international non-governmental organization (NGO); however, not all programs offer concentrations or coursework that can help you develop the skills needed to pursue this position.

Where is your program located? While this tends to be less of a concern for online learners, the physical location of a college or university can make a tremendous impact on the cost of living, quality of life, and employment opportunities of students and graduates.

Finally, what does a program require beyond completing coursework? Some students may enjoy experiential learning experiences that come with required internships or practica, while others may prefer to write a research-based thesis.

Programmatic Accreditation for MBA in Nonprofit Management Programs

You should only consider accredited schools when looking at nonprofit management programs. Accreditation ensures that an institution meets certain academic standards and adequately prepares graduates for careers in their chosen fields. If you attend an unaccredited school you may struggle to find a job or encounter difficulty transferring credits or qualifying for financial aid.

Three broad categories of accreditation exist. Most nonprofit colleges and universities receive regional accreditation, which is generally considered the most prestigious form. Alternatively, for-profit and vocational schools typically receive national accreditation. Finally, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) also recognizes organizations that award programmatic accreditation to specific programs in particular fields. For example, CHEA recognizes the authority of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) to award accreditation to MBA and other business-related programs.

You can search CHEA's online directory to determine whether an MBA in nonprofit management program holds regional, national, or ACBSP accreditation.

MBA in Nonprofit Management Program Admissions

Whether you plan to study online or on campus, the admissions process at most schools remains largely the same. You must first submit your application materials, which typically include your undergraduate transcripts, scores from standardized exams, your resume or CV, letters of reference, and a personal essay. Many schools also charge an application fee.

After receiving your application materials, a business school may ask you to complete a phone or in-person interview, although online programs may be less likely to make this request. Following this interview, a school will tell you whether you have been admitted, denied, or placed on a waiting list.

As a general rule, you should apply to at least three programs. Among these, try to apply to at least one "safety school," which represents a program that you think you should definitely get into based on your current grades, test scores, and professional experience.


  • Bachelor's Degree: Virtually all MBA in nonprofit management programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Some may also list prerequisite coursework in areas like finance or economics.
  • Professional Experience: Experience requirements vary from program to program. Many schools require applicants to possess at least two years of applicable professional experience, although some programs cater more to recent college graduates.
  • Minimum GPA: The majority of programs require applicants to hold a GPA of at least 2.5. However, schools may make exceptions for students with extenuating life circumstances, particularly high test scores, or a record of strong non-academic achievement (e.g., community service).

Admission Materials

  • Application: Your application is the first thing an admission office sees, and you should spend a considerable amount of time working on it. Graduate schools do not use the Common Application, so carefully research what each program requires.
  • Transcripts: To apply to MBA in nonprofit management programs, you must submit academic transcripts. To do so, contact your former schools -- both undergraduate and graduate -- to request copies of your transcripts. Schools often charge a small fee for these copies, and they may need several weeks to complete your request.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Most programs ask applicants to submit at least three letters of recommendation. To meet this requirement, you should reach out to former professors, employers, and mentors who can speak to your qualifications and experience. Avoid using friends or family members. Give your recommenders ample time to write your letter, and try to ask them several months before application deadlines.
  • Test Scores: Many business schools require students to submit GMAT scores, although some may also accept Graduate Record Examination scores. Schools typically do not state a minimum required score, instead using these results as one component of your overall application package.
  • Application Fee: Application fees typically range from $50-$250. In some circumstances, schools may waive this fee for individuals who demonstrate financial need or for those who served in the military. Contact your admissions office directly to see if you qualify for a fee waiver.

What Else Can I Expect From an MBA in Nonprofit Management Program?

You can customize your learning experience in business school by selecting a particular area of concentration or by enrolling in certain elective courses, such as human resource management or environmentally sustainable building design. You can also further personalize your education through internships and student activities.

Concentrations Offered for an MBA in Nonprofit Management
Concentration Description Careers
Healthcare This concentration features coursework in areas like U.S. health policy, healthcare finance, health informatics and health information technology systems, and regulation and strategic planning. Graduates may go on to work for hospitals, insurance companies, health service organizations, or government agencies working in the healthcare space. Hospital administrator or director of a community health clinic
International Relief Students in this concentration develop a broad understanding of globalization and specific technical skills. They may take courses that cover subjects such as resource development, cultural contexts, international governance structures, and cross-institutional collaboration. These classes help prepare students for work at international NGOs. International development consultant or foundation program officer
Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Within this specialization, students learn how to start and manage for-profit companies that aim to advance the public good. These programs offer coursework in areas like business ethics, social justice, and change theory. Graduates can assume leadership roles in public and private sectors. Small business owner or CEO of a regional development corporation
Environmental Management The prospect of protecting the environment draws many students to the nonprofit sector. This concentration allows individuals to explore environmental law and policy as well as strategies and best practices in sustainable community development. Graduates may work for a government agency regulating environmental impact or for a corporation working to reduce its environmental footprint. Head of a state environmental agency or LEED-certified project manager
Education An MBA in nonprofit management with a specialization in education readies graduates for many roles in the field of education. Students may take classes in financial and personnel management to prepare for a career as the head of a charter or private school. Alternatively, students can study community relations and education policy to lead youth advocacy organizations. Principal of a charter school or program director for an after-school enrichment organization

Courses in an MBA in Nonprofit Management Program

Although the exact courses you take vary from school to school and depend on your specialization, the core curricula of the best MBA in nonprofit management programs contain many similar classes, covering subjects like accounting, leadership, and applied research. The list below describes five classes commonly available in these types of programs.

Ethics and Social Justice

Leaders in every sector face ethical challenges. This course helps prepare students to face those challenges by providing a background in social justice issues, such as economic disparity and racial privilege. Learners often select a particular ethical or social justice issue, conduct in-depth research, and use their findings to make a recommendation for improvement or change.

Organizational Management and Leadership

Running a public service organization requires more than just programmatic knowledge; it also requires an understanding of the organization itself. In this course, students examine issues like organizational culture and development, change management, and systems theories through case studies in private, governmental, and nonprofit settings.

Board Governance and Volunteer Management

Nonprofit executives hold unique relationships with members of their governing boards and other volunteers. Students taking this class learn how to effectively recruit, orient, train, supervise, communicate with, and evaluate those who seek to aid an organization without the promise of compensation.

Strategic Planning

One of the most important responsibilities of a nonprofit leader involves the creation of a clear and effective strategic plan that guides the work of their organization. By using realistic scenarios from the public service sector, students in this course develop and test strategic plans.

Applied Research and Evaluation Methods

Especially common in programs that require a thesis, courses in research and evaluation represent a critical component of a business student's graduate-level education. Students learn how to properly collect, analyze, interpret, and apply data to assess community needs and design programs to address challenges.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA in Nonprofit Management?

An MBA in nonprofit management consists of approximately 60 credits, and most students earn their degree in about two years. However, some programs offer accelerated courses of study where students can graduate in as little as one year. Alternatively, if you need to keep your job or devote time to caring for a child or member of your family while attending school, you should consider programs that allow individuals to attend school on a part-time basis. Part-time students typically take significantly longer to graduate.

Additionally, learners enrolled in traditionally paced programs can try and reduce the amount of time needed to graduate in a few different ways. For example, some programs provide course credit for prior experiences, such as military service, and some schools also allow students to take larger than normal course loads; however, individuals who go this route may struggle to keep up with their readings and assignments.

How Much Is an MBA in Nonprofit Management?

The cost of an MBA in nonprofit management varies widely depending on the institution you choose. Earning your degree at a private school, for instance, typically costs considerably more than earning the same degree at a public university. For example, at Stanford's business school, graduate students pay more than $70,000 per year in tuition alone. In contrast, at the University of California, Davis, graduate students from California pay roughly $39,000 in tuition per year.

Remember to also consider non-tuition expenses. If you study on campus, you likely need to pay for housing and fees associated with campus services and activities. Depending on how far you live from school, you may also need to factor in costs related to commuting, parking, and/or childcare.

Learners who pursue a degree online can avoid some of these costs. Additionally, many online programs charge all distance learners the same tuition rate, regardless of where they live; this can lead to significant savings.

Certifications and Licenses an MBA in Nonprofit Management Prepares For

Series 7

Administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FIRA), the Series 7 exam allows MBA graduates to sell securities and possess the legal power of an agent in the U.S. The exam takes about six hours to complete and costs $305.

Series 63

Also administered by FIRA, the Series 63 exam qualifies candidates as securities agents within a particular state. Nearly all states require professionals to pass this exam to hold this position. The test, which covers regulations in the Uniform Security Act, consists of 65 questions and takes approximately 75 minutes. Testing fees vary by state.

Certified Public Account

Individuals with a CPA designation can provide accounting services to the public. To become a CPA, you must pass the Uniform Certified Public Accounting Examination, complete a minimum of 150 semester credits of college education, and possess at least one year of accounting-related professional experience.

Certified Financial Planner

This credential signals an MBA graduate's expertise in the area of financial planning, although states do not require this designation to practice. To receive CFP certification, individuals must pass the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards exam and agree to adhere to certain codes of ethics and conduct.

Chartered Financial Analyst

Held by over 150,000 professionals around the world, the CFA designation recognizes professionals working in the field of investment management. To become a CFA, you must pass three levels of exams, complete four years of professional experience in investment decision-making, and join the CFA Institute as a regular member.

Resources for MBA in Nonprofit Management Students

U.S. Department of Education

The Department of Education oversees a variety of financial aid programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to find out if they qualify for support.

MBA Depot

MBA Depot offers resources for prospective and current MBA students, including tips on composing personal essays, a database of MBA programs, and guidance on who and how to ask for letters of recommendation.

HBS Working Knowledge

This site offers articles that draw on the research and experience of faculty from Harvard's business school. MBA students can seek out sources for papers or catch up on unfamiliar subjects like agribusiness.

Purdue Online Writing Lab

Like any graduate field, business demands exceptional writing skills. The Purdue OWL offers several writing tips, including how to structure a persuasive essay and how to create a resume.

Professional Organizations for MBA in Nonprofit Management Students

Professional organizations provide important support to graduates of MBA in nonprofit management programs. They offer professional development and training resources, provide networking opportunities at annual conferences and regional events, and advertise openings in the field through career centers and job boards. Whether you work at a nonprofit organization, charitable foundation, or government agency, the five organizations listed below can help you achieve professional success.